Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Release Spotlight: Lucky in Love (Kasie West)


Today I spotlight the second 2017 Kasie West release: LUCKY IN LOVE from Scholastic! I myself was lucky enough to receive an advance copy from the publisher (thanks again, Scholastic! <3) and can recommend it as a sweet light romance about family, friends, future, and the troubles of money (you can check out my full review here!). If you haven't yet looked into Kasie's latest, do so below!


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Lucky in Love

Title: Lucky in Love
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: 7/25/17

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture. 

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.


Add to Goodreads

PURCHASE:
Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Book Depository


And check out Kasie West's other Scholastic title!

P.S. I Like You
P.S. I Like You

Monday, July 24, 2017

Review: Lucky in Love (Kasie West)

Lucky in Love
Title: Lucky in Love
Series: standalone
Author: Kasie West
Publisher: Scholastic
Release Date: July 25, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
Told: First Person (Maddie), Past Tense
Content Rating: Teen (kissing)
Format Read: ARC (publisher)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

In this new contemporary from YA star Kasie West, a girl who wins the lottery learns that money can cause more problems than it solves, especially when love comes into the picture. 

Maddie doesn't believe in luck. She's all about hard work and planning ahead. But one night, on a whim, she buys a lottery ticket. And then, to her astonishment --

She wins!

In a flash, Maddie's life is unrecognizable. No more stressing about college scholarships. Suddenly, she's talking about renting a yacht. And being in the spotlight at school is fun... until rumors start flying, and random people ask her for loans. Now, Maddie isn't sure who she can trust.

Except for Seth Nguyen, her funny, charming coworker at the local zoo. Seth doesn't seem aware of Maddie's big news. And, for some reason, she doesn't want to tell him. But what will happen if he learns her secret?

With tons of humor and heart, Kasie West delivers a million-dollar tale of winning, losing, and falling in love.


*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Scholastic!


In a Sentence: A sweet if predictable contemporary romance about family, friends, future, and the uncertainty of money.

While Kasie West is and will always be one of my favorite authors, Lucky in Love was kind of a mixed bag for me. On the one hand it was a Kasie West novel, which meant a light writing style with great banter, relatable characters, and a sweet romance. But on the other hand, the predictable "naive young girl wins lottery" plot gave me an uneasy sense of dread through most of the book, which wasn't the greatest reading companion for a contemporary romance.

The story began a little dispiriting as Maddie's family struggled with money problems and the tension it can cause. When she won the lottery the mood lightened, but with Maddie's naivete it was obvious the disasters that would unfold and so I read in a constant state of cringe. I'm not one who enjoys watching a train wreck, so I spent most of the book dreading when everything would inevitably fall apart. Luckily Seth was there with his innocence and banter to lighten the tense mood, but even he could not fully buffer what was to come. To my relief the conclusion was not as bad as I'd expected, although given it was a Kasie West story I really should've anticipated a lighter touch. There was some inevitable sadness, but ultimately a lot of happiness as Maddie finally started making some smart decisions about the money and her future.

Conclusion: While not my favorite Kasie West story, I did enjoy the read despite some dread at the predictable young lottery winner disasters. Overall with its fun premise, relatable characters, and sweet romance, I recommend Lucky In Love as a great summer read and any time you need a light romance with heart.


Scribble Rating
3.5 of 5 Scribbles


Friday, July 21, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (7/21/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Defy the Stars (Constellation, #1)
Defy the Stars by Claudia Gray (ARC)
Was seriously craving sci-fi so I finally picked this up! About 70% through - really enjoying Noemi and Abel's interaction, and exploring the different worlds. Their decisions don't always seem quite logical enough for Abel's intelligence, but otherwise it's an entertaining read.


>> READING NEXT <<
The Last Magician
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (ARC)
Set this aside to indulge in my sci-fi craving so I'll be returning to it afterwards.


So what are you reading this week?

Friday, July 14, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (7/14/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
The Last Magician
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell (ARC)
Unfortunately rather disappointed so far - too much description and info-dumping ruins the tension, and all the time-jumping to focus on different characters is very confusing. I'm only a few short chapters in so far though, so I'll give it bit longer.


>> JUST FINISHED <<
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún Vol. 1

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling (PBK)
3 Stars. 2017 Re-Read: Angry Harry was rather too angry and broody for me most of the time, and there were several conversations that felt like they would never end, but otherwise this was the entertaining read that I know and enjoy occasionally re-reading.

The Girl from the Other Side: Siúil, a Rún Vol. 1 by NAGABE (PBK)
3 Stars. A quick read with an intriguing story and heavily shadowed art that was thankfully not the horror I expected but more a curious post-apoc fantasy. After the cliffhanger I'll definitely be reading the next volume.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Horimiya, Vol. 8
Horimiya vol. 8 by Hero X Daisuke Hagiwara (PBK)
It's on its way!! *flails*

So what are you reading this week?

Monday, July 10, 2017

Review: Roar (Cora Carmack)

Roar (Stormheart, #1)
Title: Roar
Series: Stormheart, Book 1
Author: Cora Carmack
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Told: Third Person Multiple, Past Tense
Content Rating: Older Teen (light sexuality, violence)
Format Read: ARC (BookHype)
Find OnGoodreads
Purchase OnAmazon | B&N | Book Depository
Summary:

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage. 

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough. 

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.


*          *          *

Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review. Thank you, Tor Teen!


In a Sentence: An engaging fantasy with an unfortunate love triangle and heavy sensuality but solid writing and unique magic.

I'm not much of a Romance fan, so when I heard Romance author Cora Carmack was foraying into fantasy I was a little wary. The premise was really intriguing though, and when the gorgeous cover released I was excited to give the beauty a try. As anticipated there was some heavy and rather detailed sensuality, but also solid writing, an interesting story, and unique (if a little convoluted) magic that made Roar an engaging read and left me impatiently awaiting the next book.

The Story & Setting: While it admittedly began somewhat coincidental and predictable and a bit of belief had to be suspended, the strong writing and good pacing kept me reading and the story was an exciting journey of magic and discovery. Without a map in the ARC the setting could be a little confusing at times, but for the most part it was a fun world to explore and a good backdrop for the story.

The Magic: Storm magic isn't uncommon in fantasies, so it can be difficult to come up with a unique twist. This book manages it though with stormhearts: physical manifestations of conquered storms that allow the conqueror to conjure the storm at will. But that's not all: siphoned bits of storm a la stormhunters are harnessed into energy, and the mystery behind the storms themselves proves an important part of the story's essence. With all the different categories of storms and the mystery itself the magic could be a little complicated at times, but overall it was different and very interesting.

The Characters & Romances: I found Rora (Aurora? Roar??) a bit hard to get a handle on - one minute she was strong and fierce, the next minute weak and sappy. But since she couldn't seem to get a handle on herself, I guess her personality confusion was simply part of her personality. At the least she made an interesting main character to follow, and I look forward to continuing her story in the next book. I also look forward to the expansion of servant girl Nova, whose personal story was left on a serious cliffhanger long before the book ended causing quite a lot of frustration for me as she was probably my favorite character. The rest of the eclectic hunter team made a merry band with great personalities that relieved some of the tension by adding sparks of humor, and it will be interesting to see what roles they take in the next book.

There are unfortunately two love interests (i.e. love triangle) for Rora in this story, and while I could've accepted one or the other, for two men to immediately and intensely be drawn to and become obsessively protective of the same girl within the first 80 pages was rather more than I could swallow. As for the men themselves, although they came from very different backgrounds, I found them to be similar in regrettable ways. Locke was WAY too overprotective, rough, and instalovey for my tastes, but at least he could be sweet to Rora and was there for her when she needed it. Cassius, the second in the triangle, was similarly protective, possessive, and even rougher, but he really didn't get enough book time for me to form much of an opinion other than that so I (warily) look forward to getting to know him better in the sequel.

The End: Unlike the rest of the well-paced book, the end was a rather rushed for me: a week or two of travel and major character growth was crammed into the last chapter, and it felt like we missed a lot - I wouldn't have minded that one chapter expanded into a whole second book. Then the story cut off not exactly on a cliffhanger but an "End of Part 1" kind of way, making it feel more as if I'm missing half the book than "To be continued." Unbalanced end aside though, I'm definitely interested in continuing the adventures of Rora and the entire cast, and eagerly await the next book.

Conclusion: An engaging read with strong writing and interesting magic that fantasy fans should not miss. Definitely recommend for older teens though who don't mind love triangles and rough, overprotective love interests. Can't wait to get my hands on the sequel!

Re-read?: Definitely

Scribble Rating
4 of 5 Scribbles


Friday, July 7, 2017

The #FridayReads Review (7/7/17)



Welcome to The #FridayReads Review, a regular Friday segment where I share what I've been reading the past week, and what I'm planning to read next! Want to join the Friday fun? Post your own #FridayReads Review and leave the link in the Comments below, or just Comment with what you've been reading!


>> CURRENTLY READING <<
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)R.O.D. Read or Dream 1 (R.O.D. Read or Dream, #1)

Now over 70% through and very surprised to rediscover just how different the movie is - several lesser subplots in the book were played up in the movie, and Umbridge isn't nearly as skin-crawling in the book (Imelda Staunton did an amazing job). While I'm of course enjoying the magical re-read (despite Angry Harry), I'm definitely looking forward to returning to shorter books soon.

R.O.D.: Read or Dream Series by Kurata & Ayanaga (PBK)
Another 4-volume series on the maybe pile of my purge. The anime is one of my all-time favorites - paper magic is just so me! While definitely not as good as the anime, it has some great original plots so currently on the fence.


>> [POSSIBLY] READING NEXT <<
(subject to change with my ever-shifting reading whims)
Daughter of the Burning City
Daughter of the Burning City by Amanda Foody (ARC)
I'm not quite sure if this is going to be my kind of read, but it sounds very imaginative and I won an ARC so I'll give it a try.


So what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

WoW: Black Light Express (Philip Reeve)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly blogging event in which one spotlights an upcoming release they are eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


Black Light Express
Title: Black Light Express
Author: Philip Reeve
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Switch Press
Summary:

With superb world building, gripping action, and ruthless political intrigue, Black Light Express delivers a breathtaking adventure into the darkest depths of space and is sure to please sci-fi fans and foes alike. 

At the edge of the Great Network, a small-time thief and an android girl ride aboard a sentient train. They hurtle toward the unknown, ready to see what lies beyond the end of the universe. But Zen Starling and Nova leave behind worlds on the brink of chaos. Old rulers are dead, and now young Threnody Noon sits precariously on the throne. Unrest spreads like a virus, a rival corporate family grows hungry for power, and the once tranquil Empire seems bound for railwar and ruin. Watching everything are the Guardians--the mysterious god-like AIs to whom people of the Network offer their prayers and praises. But even gods have secrets. Secrets the so-called benevolent deities would do anything to keep hidden deep within the farthest reaches of existence. 

Return to the exciting sci-fi world of Philip Reeve in this sequel to Railhead, which received three starred reviews and was praised by Publishers Weekly as a thrilling and imaginative escapade.


Why I'm Looking Forward To It: I prayed for a sequel, and here it is! Railhead blew me away with its imaginative universe and effortless diversity (see my review here), so I look forward to more of the same in this continuation of Zen, Nova, & Threnody's adventures!


So what book are you waiting on?